Banana Bread

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There are a few reasons I love doing recipe swaps. One is that it encourages me to post (hello, unplanned blog break). Another is that I often find things I didn’t know I had in common with other bloggers. Like, the perpetual search for the perfect banana bread.

I currently have three banana bread or muffin recipes on the blog. I like them all for different reasons, but I always end up trying new ones – just to see what my other options are. Right after we got our assignments for this swap, I had a bunch of over-ripe bananas sitting on the counter. Hmm, does Carrie’s Sweet Life have any banana bread recipes to try out? I wondered.

The answer is yes, yes she does. At least a dozen, actually. She is, apparently, a chronic banana bread recipe trier, like me. Banana bread jackpot, as far as I was concerned.

I picked a simple recipe for this go around because I already had everything in the house (always a bonus!), but I’m drooling over some of her other versions, too. I’d like to say this one will stop my banana bread quest but, let’s be honest, I don’t think I’ll ever give up the hunt.

Banana Bread
(from Carrie’s Sweet Life)
Makes 1 Loaf

3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

Preaheat the oven to 350F degrees. Grease a loaf pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the mashed bananas and melted butter until thouroughly combined. Add in sugar, egg and vanilla and stir to combine. Add in baking soda and salt and stir to combine. Add in flour and stir until just incorporated.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, until loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.


Pumpkin Overnight Oats

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I knew going into October Unprocessed that breakfast and lunch would be harder for me than dinner. Being home with the kiddo all day, I don’t always get a good break to make something so I need something I can make ahead that’s relatively grab-and-go. I’ve got a list of ideas for each that I’m planning to try out this month, but this breakfast got bumped to the top because it’s the quickest.

The amounts below are for one jar, but I’d highly suggest lining up a few jars and prepping them all at once. I did 4 days worth in one shot and it was really nice to not have to keep dragging the ingredients out nightly. And really, who isn’t loving pumpkin everything this time of year?

Pumpkin Overnight Oats
(adapted slightly from Greens & Chocolate)
Serves 1

1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. chia seeds
2 tsp. flax seeds
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Place all ingredients in a mason jar or other container with a tight fitting lid and shake well to combine.  Refrigerate overnight.

Serve topped with fruit or nuts.


Caprese Quiche

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Why, yes, I am still trying to use up the absurd amount of tomatoes coming out of the garden! I’ve officially given up trying to make Mark-friendly dishes out of them and have started cooking whatever catches my eye – including this Pinterest find.

We have a good bit of basil in the garden too, and I had fresh mozzarella on hand already (because Caprese salads have been in heavy rotation!) so this was a quick one to whip together and perfect for a quick lunch during the week.

I used a frozen pie shell to make this really easy, but if you have five extra minutes, this pie dough would work great too.

Caprese Quiche
(slightly adapted from 17 Apart)
Makes 1 8″ quiche

4 plum tomatoes, quartered
4 oz. fresh mozzarella, diced
Small palm-full of fresh basil leaves
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pre-made, deep dish pie crust

Preheat your oven to 350F degrees.

Arrange tomatoes and mozzarella in the bottom of the pie crust. Sprinkle basil leaves over.

In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture into pie crust.

Bake for about 45 minutes, until egg is set. Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing.


Chocolate Covered Strawberry Overnight Oats

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For me, Pinterest is sort of a peer pressure zone. If I see a recipe or trend enough times, I feel like I need to try it too. This is why I started making overnight oats. I’m pretty sure the first time I saw it I thought it was gross – and then the idea grew on me. I’m a big oatmeal fan in the winter months, so this idea seemed perfect for the warmer weather.

I’ve tried quite a few overnight oat recipes, and this is the first one that has been blog worthy. I loved everything about this – the consistancy was spot-on for me and it felt like a treat without being overy sweet. I’ve already made it several times!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Overnight Oats
(from Organize Yourself Skinny)
Serves 1

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup chopped strawberries
1 1/2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
Large pinch of cinnamon
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. chia seeds
Small pinch of salt
On top: 1 chopped strawberry, 1 tsp. mini chocolate chips, extra milk for consistancy (if needed)

In a small bowl or jar, combine the oats, milk, 1/4 cup chopped strawberries, cocoa powder, cinnamon, vanilla, syrup, chia seeds and salt. Mix until well combined. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, thin with additional milk if desired (I didn’t – I like my oatmeal thick!) and top with chopped strawberry and mini chocolate chips.


What’s Baking: Baked Triple Berry Pancake

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The latest What’s Baking theme was baking with summer produce, which immediately make me think of berries. We grow our own strawberries and blueberries in the backyard and regularly buy raspberries and blackberries when they’re in season.

I whipped up this pancake as a special breakfast this morning. We’ve been quite busy the last few weeks so being able to sit down to a nice breakfast together felt like a treat. I also liked that the batter was mixed up in the blender – for some reason, this felt particularly easy.

We ate this with whipped cream (me) and syrup (Mark), but I also think honey drizzled over would be fantastic!

You can check out what other bloggers made for the theme in a recap later this month on Blissfully Delicious.

Baked Triple Berry Pancake
(adapted from Recipe Girl)
Serves 4

3 eggs
3/4 cup milk
3/4 flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. lemon zest
Pinch of salt
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup blueberries
1/4 cup blackberries
1/4 cup chopped strawberries
Whipped cream, syrup, honey or powdered sugar, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400F degrees.

In a blender, comine the eggs, milk, flour, sugar, lemon zest and salt. Pulse until well combined.

Heat a 12″ cast iron skillet over high heat. Add the butter to the skillet and let melt. Once melted, pour the batter into the skillet and top with berries. Transfer the skillet to the oven.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until puffed and cooked through. Serve with whipped cream, syrup, honey or powdered sugar over the top.


Apple Walnut Sticky Buns

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A few weeks ago, we got to introduce my family to the Outer Banks. Mark and I have been their several times with friends and with his family so we were excited to show off one of our favorite places. We rented a house and my parents, my sister and Mark’s Mom joined us for a week of rest and relaxation – it was glorious.

One of the things I love about OBX is that we always rent a house – so we always have a kitchen. I love exploring new restaurants but a week straight of eating out gets old. My sister and I planned the menu for the week, but we actually did very little of the cooking ourselves – everyone pitched in to make meals easier!

This was one of the few meals I actually made myself during our beach week. We wanted a few easy-but-fun breakfasts and this one fit the bill. I had pre-measured the brown sugar, butter and walnuts and brought them with us in plastic containers so all we needed to pick up was an apple and a package of cinnamon roll. Easy to make, even when I wasn’t in my own kitchen, and they were gobbled up!

Apple Walnut Sticky Buns
(from Pillsbury)
Makes 8

2 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 medium granny smith apple, diced
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 can (12.4 oz.) Pillsbury refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing.

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees and grease an 8″ round cake pan with softened butter.

In a small bowl, toss together apples, walnuts and brown sugar. Spread evenly over the bottom of the pan. Place cinnamon rolls evenly around the pan, on top of the apple mixture.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are brown. Cool for 5 minutes. Place a plate over the pan and invert the pan so the cinnamon rolls come out.

Remove lid from the icing container and microwave on medium for 5 seconds, until thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle over the sticky buns and serve immediately.


Mini Doughnut Muffins

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Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend is also the big plant sale for the local master gardeners group. Since we’ve moved here, I’ve been going and picking out plants to round out the year’s vegetable garden – and my Mother-In-Law comes too. She’s an avid gardener and helps us so much with the yard. I don’t know what it would look like without her!

The plant sale starts early, so it’s become a tradition to have brunch after the sale and before we dive into planting everything in the yard. This year, we made these mini doughnut muffins as part of the brunch spread and they were a bit hit. My husband and I happily polished them off the next morning.

These aren’t “healthy” by any stretch of the imagination, but since they’re not fried they’re a slightly-better-for-you splurge.

Mini Doughnut Muffins
(from The Sweet Life)
Make approx. 1 1/2 dozen

for the doughnuts:
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. butter, melted
3/4 t. ground nutmeg
1/2 c. milk
1 t. baking powder
1 c. all-purpose flour

for the topping:
1/4 c. butter, melted
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. ground cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 375F degrees and generously spray or grease 2 mini muffin tins.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the white sugar, melted butter and ground nutmeg. Stir in milk, baking powder and flour until just combined.

Divide mixture among mini muffin tins and bake for 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned on the top.

While they are baking, place melted butter in a small bowl. In another small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon.

When the muffins are done, let cool for a few minutes until cool enough to handle and then turn out on a plate. Dip each muffin in the melted butter and then roll in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

 


Cheddar & Apple Breakfast Panini

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I have a bit of a cookbook-buying problem. Especially when it comes to library sales. A few weeks ago, when at a library sale I picked up a 2005 Weight Watchers Five Ingredient 15 Minute Cookbook. We were in the middle of a few really busy weeks so the quick and easy plug totally got me.

I really like the sandwich section of this book. There are a whole bunch on the to-make list. This is a riff on one that was in the book. I wasn’t sure how cheddar on cinnamon raisin bread, but it’s fantastic. These were a great, quick breakfast. I sliced up the rest of the apple each day to eat along with to round out the meal.

Cheddar & Apple Breakfast Panini
(adapted from Weight Watchers Five Ingredients 15 Minute Cookbook 2005)
Serves 1

2 slices cinnamon raisin bread
2 slices cheddar cheese
1/4 granny smith apple, thinly sliced
Cooking spray

Spray one side of each piece of bread with cooking spray. Place one slice of cheese on each non-sprayed side of bread.  Add apple slices on top of cheese. Sandwich together and toast in a panini press until the outside crust is golden.

Slice and serve immediately.


No-Bake Peanut Butter and Chocolate Granola Bars

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This week has felt kind of crazy.

I’m used to working from home three days a week. This week, I was in the office every day to help with some training. When you add up the one hour commute each way and the lunch hour I usually use to do housework, nine of my usual “doing stuff” hours have been chewed up. That’s like an extra day! Quite obviously, quick and easy has been the go-to for food this week.

I mixed these bars up over the weekend and they’ve been a great go-to for breakfast or a post-gym snack. Loaded with nuts and seeds, they’re quite filling – and since they’re no-bake, they only take about five minutes to prepare.

These can easily be made vegan – just use vegan chocolate chips – and gluten-free - just make sure you’re using gluten-free oats.

No-Bake Peanut Butter and Chocolate Granola Bars
(slightly adapted from 86 Lemons)
Makes an 8×8 pan worth

1 1/2 c. rolled oats
1/4 c. flax seed meal
1/8 c. chia seeds
1/4 c. sunflower seeds
1/3 c. pumpkin seeds
1/2 c. cashews
1/2 c. almonds
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips
1/2 c. agave nectar
3/4 c. natural peanut butter

Line an 8×8 pan with parchment.

In a large bowl, stir together the oats, flax meal, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cashews, almonds and chocolate chips. Stir agave nectar in until evenly distributed. Stir in peanut butter until well combined throughout.

Press mixture into prepared pan. Freeze for 1 hour, then remove from pan and cut into bars. Store in freezer until ready to eat.


Zucchini, Chile & Red Onion Frittata

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Today is the first Friday in Lent so I’m sharing the first meatless meal idea of the season. When we do breakfast for dinner, we usually do pancakes or waffles – this frittata was a nice change of pace. It’s quick to throw together and very filling – paired with a nice loaf of crusty bread we easily stretched this to six servings.

Zucchini, Chile & Red Onion Frittata
(from Williams-Sonoma)
Serves 4

1 poblano chile
8 large eggs
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 lb. white cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded
1 T. olive oil
1 red onion, halved then sliced
2 zucchini, cut into quarters lengthwise, then sliced crosswise
Fresh cilantro, chopped

Set your oven to broil. Put the chile on a baking sheet and broil, turning as needed and watching carefully to prevent burning. Transfer the chile to a bag and let  it cool. Rub the charred peel off the chile and then cut it in half. Remove the seeds and finely chop.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Mix in 3/4 cup of the cheese.

In a 10-inch ovenproof fry pan, over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until almost tender, about 6 minutes. Add the zucchini, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chile. Add the egg mixture into the fry pan, and gently stir to distribute evenly. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook until the eggs are almost set but still moist in the center, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the broiler. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the frittata. Broil until the eggs puff, the center is springy to the touch and the cheese begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Using a flexible spatula, loosen the frittata around the edges. Slide the frittata onto a platter, and sprinkle cilantro over the top. Serve warm or at room temperature, cutting into wedges.

Linked up with Eat at Home’s Ingredient Spotlight: Eggs